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Wrestling with God

  • Wrestling with God from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Men like Abraham and Joseph yield immediately to God's call, but others are people of conflict, like Jacob and Jonah. Though we want to be part of God's plan, we struggle independently, using our own strength until the Lord wrestles it from us. 

    Jacob was a man of conflict like many of us. There was both good and bad within him. His life was a struggle from the get-go. He and his twin brother Esau even wrestled in their mother's womb. 

    (Genesis 25:21–23 NKJV)  Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger."

    (Genesis 25:24–26 NKJV)  So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

    Jacob means "He will supplant; a heeler; cheat; a deceiver." Jacob did many questionable things growing up, including deceiving his brother and their dad. 

    (Genesis 27:36 ESV)  Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing." 

    Eventually, his brother Esau began to comfort himself with the thought of killing him, and Jacob had to leave town and live with his mother's relatives. There he met someone a lot like himself, a man after his own character, cut from the same cloth: his uncle, Laban.

    Jacob and Laban had a long struggle with cheating one another. Jacob agreed to work for him and marry his beautiful daughter, Rachel. But on Jacob's wedding night, Laban slipped her sister Leah into his bed instead. 

    Twenty years passed by like that. Laban changed Jacob's wages ten times, but the Lord had plans for Jacob, and he always managed to come out on top. He grew wealthy and had a dozen children. Eventually, he grew tired of Laban, and Laban's family grew weary of him. The Lord told Jacob to return to his homeland.

    (Genesis 31:3 NKJV)  Then the LORD said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you."

    Jacob went, but there was a slight hitch: his brother Esau. Jacob sent a messenger to Esau to inform him that he was returning home, and they returned and told him that Esau was on his way with four-hundred men. That's quite big for a welcoming party.

    Jacob was terrified that Esau planned to kill them all, so he prayed to God for mercy. Then he divided his family and livestock into two camps and went into the wilderness alone. It was a dark night of the soul for Jacob. The Lord had told him to come here, but now he was alone and afraid they would be killed at any time. Suddenly, a mysterious man attacked Jacob out of the darkness, and they wrestled until daybreak.

    (Genesis 32:24 NKJV)  Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.

    I believe the man was Jesus Christ, a Christophany, where Jesus appears in the Old Testament. The prophet Hosea said this about Jacob: 

    (Hosea 12:3–4 NKJV)  "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; He wept, and sought favor from Him."

    The Lord had Jacob right where he wanted him. Humbled, scared, alone, desperate, with no one to turn to for help except the Lord. Jacob wrestled with God, and at the end of the struggle, he wept and sought His favor. It was a turning point in Jacob's life. 

    Jacob had wrestled with his brother (Genesis 25:22), then with his father (Genesis 27), then with his father-in-law (Genesis 29–31), and now with God (Genesis 32). Jacob had always struggled with both man and God, but it changed that night.

    (Genesis 32:27–28 NKJV)  So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed."

    The Lord made Jacob say his name, for He fully knew who Jacob was. It was the same as when He called to Adam in the garden and asked him, "Where are you?" The Lord knew where Adam was, but He wanted Adam to realize it. Jacob may have felt a sense of shame admitting his name with all its association with deception and cheating, but it was an accurate picture of who he was. 

    At the end of the long struggle, the Lord gave Jacob a new name: Israel, which means God Rules, God Fights, one that prevails with God. Jacob was no longer the cheating deceiver but had been given a new identity. It left him a changed man, and he always walked with a limp after that night. 

    Israel awoke to a new day after the struggle and found that time had softened his brother Esau's heart. He was never in real danger. Though Esau came out to meet Jacob with four hundred men, he was happy to see him, and they reconciled peacefully. The long night was over and Jacob was changed forever. 

    You can pray this with me if you like: 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, have mercy on me. Please give me the grace to change what is needed. Take away the things that hold me back from You. Draw my heart and speak to me in a simple way that I can understand. I want to know You more. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!


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Social Sharing

19 comments
  • 1
Kevin J. Eck
Kevin J. Eck Amen!
December 5, 2022
  • 3
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Heavenly Father, have mercy on me. Please give me the grace to change what is needed. Take away the things that hold me back from You. Draw my heart and speak to me in a simple way that I can understand. I want to know You more. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen! ❤️
December 5, 2022
  • 3
Sherry McCosh
Sherry McCosh

Amen!! Awesome devotion as usual. These devotions just make my day! Thank you Pastor Dion!!!

December 4, 2022
  • 2
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

December 4, 2022
  • 4
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardleedited: December 4, 2022

Amen and Amen!!! What a blessing to be able to start out another week with my RHM family, thanking the Lord for both of you, Pastor and Sylvia!! (h5) Will miss you this coming Wednesday, but will lift you both up in prayer including Sylvia's Mom! (h5)

 

December 4, 2022
  • 3
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Yes Lord Jesus, amen. 

December 5, 2022
  • 2
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen

December 5, 2022
  • 2
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen 

December 5, 2022
  • 2
Dana Rozell
Dana Rozell

Amen.

December 5, 2022
  • 3
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Lord i need you today and everyday.  Help me to understand all your ways. I ask in Jesus Name,  Amen 

December 5, 2022
  • 3
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walkeredited: December 5, 2022

Amen. Heavenly Father, I need You in my life. I cannot do this without You. .Amen

December 5, 2022
  • 2
David Krull
David Krull

Amen

December 5, 2022
  • 2
Candy Laventure
Candy Laventure

Excellent teaching, Pastor.

Amen!

December 5, 2022
  • 2
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen Good Morning Everyone 

December 5, 2022
  • 1
David  Earlywine
David Earlywine

Amen 

December 5, 2022
  • 1
Maria Melendez
Maria Melendez

Amen !

December 5, 2022
  • 2
David Fabillaran
David Fabillaran

Amen Lord Jesus!

December 5, 2022
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen! 

December 5, 2022
  • 1
Richard Mondello
Richard Mondello

In Lord Christ Yeshua's name I pray this, Amen. 

December 5, 2022